Danish News in Brief: Surprise! Education minister thinks kids should go to school

In other news, a rape at a school party leads to a conviction, a young gymnast falls to his death and the High Court hands out prison sentences to two youths who shared footage of minors having sex

The education minister, Merete Riisager (LA), has said the level of absence at Danish upper-secondary schools is far too high.

She has accordingly recommended the uniform registering and reporting of absences to combat the unjustified absences and what she called a “junk student culture”.

She also recommended cutting SU to students who are absent for more than 15 percent of their schooling in a quarter.

However, Jens Philip Yazdani, the head of the Danish Gymnasium Association, said that the minister’s suggestions showed a lack of knowledge about students’ lives and were “a general expression of distrust for young people”.

A deadly jump
A 16-year-old boy died on Sunday of injuries he sustained in connection with an accident at the gymnastics school he attended in Stevns. The school said that the boy fell into a safety pit filled with mats while attempting a jump last Friday night at around 20:00. He landed incorrectly and broke his neck. He was taken to the hospital but died late on Sunday night. Safety regulator Arbejdstilsynet will inspect the site over the next few days.

Rape conviction
Emmanuel Ngoma, an 18-year-old Congolese citizen, has been found guilty of raping a 17-year-old girl at a school party in Kolding in March. His victim claims Ngoma struck her on the head and raped her after they stepped outside to smoke a joint. He was sentenced to prison. The prosecution had asked for him to be deported, but the court said that would violate Denmark’s international obligations. Ngoma came to Denmark as a young child and has lived in the country for 15 years.

Cop dragged
A police officer was dragged 30-40 metres by a car during a routine stop in Esbjerg in west Jutland on Sunday night. Officers had walked up to either side of the vehicle, but when one of them attempted to reach in for the keys, the driver panicked and drove off, dragging the officer with him. The officer fell into the roadway, but was not stuck by the car. South Jutland Police believe they know the driver and have suggested he surrender himself to the magistrate.

No more sucking (through plastic) at Føtex
Beginning from next year, the supermarket chain Føtex will no longer sell plastic cups, plates or straws. They will be replacing the disposable items with sustainable and degradable materials. Føtex is the first chain in Denmark to drop plastic in an effort to combat litter and help wildlife. Data from the EU shows that 17 percent of the plastic contaminating the Mediterranean is from one-off service items. Føtex annually sells about 25 million plastic service items.

Children guilty of child pornography
The eastern high court, Østre Landsret, has confirmed sentences for two young men accused of sharing a sex video containing people under the age of 18. The verdict means the men are guilty of sharing child pornography and will now spend 20 and 40 days in prison respectively. The decision against the accused, who were 16 and 17 at the time they shared the video, could have repercussions for the over 1,000 other young people who shared the so-called ‘Umbrella Complex’ video. Østre Landsret’s decision is a blow for those who believe the young people should not be charged with child pornography.

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